After a month of heavily gusting winds the atmosphere begins to calm and the Guanajan coast takes a breath. The salty water slowly drifts back towards the deep ocean. Finally, a calm
morning we could see the mainland of Honduras stretching along the horizon. Showing signs that today was going to be a good fishing day. First pull and the motor of our 40 horsepower
Panga was rumbling, ready to receive more fuel. No less than a mile, I had my first shot on the buggy whip at a school of 10 permit. The first cast landed right to their side, another cast
landed behind them spooking them into a frenzy. They came back around and the third cast was perfect. As they muscled towards my fly with a sense of urgency I felt an eat. I set the hook
and the line started flying but something didn’t feel right. My line was wrapped around the bow line on the front of the boat so I jumped forward to free it. At that time, we realized it was not a
permit that ate my fly but a yellow jack. My excitement was soon exhausted but I was thrilled anyways to get a fish boat side.
Our guide Darin with a cool relaxed manner jumped down off the poling platform and said let’s go find some more pompajack (permit) while this tide is still high. One pull and we were off on a mission to find any sort of tail. So we cruised casually and cool just how Darin likes it to the North side of the Guanaja. Where we were met with gusty winds and shallow empty flats. We continued our voyage in search of the elusive.
Darin cool and relaxed, slowly was pulling me onto a shoreline with some scattered bonefish. I dropped a spawning shrimp fly on my first cast right in front of a bonefish tic tic tic he started to follow chasing it all the way to the boat and never attacking. Soon after a couple other shots Darin says cast into that Mud hole. On the first cast I let it sink for 5 long seconds until WAM I felt a hit and set the hook keeping my rod low. This was my first tango with a bonefish. What felt like an hour was more likely a mere 7 minutes. I leapt into the water fish vs man slowly letting some line out as to not loose tension. I grabbed the leader and let the fish meet my hand finalizing our match.
I had thoughts that I was going to leave this fishing mecca without a fish of my dreams but the universe opened up with only 2 days left. I got the privilege of catching one of the earth’s finest creatures with my brother Kyle and my camera man Erik. I couldn’t ask for two better people to have with me for that moment. Being a fisherman is simple but being a fly fisherman is deep. Fly Fisherman have a unique connection to the land growing closer to it with ever cast. Giving us the ability to appreciate the resources around how we can make a difference in this world through our passion for world and people. Always striving for that one extra cast that can make the most change.
Guanaja is like no other place on this earth it’s a place that will not be forgotten for its were pine trees meets with salt air. A smell so powerful that is brings a man one sniff closer to understanding life. Never take for granted the simple moments, even experiencing a new smell can be just as life altering as catching the fish of your dreams. A big thanks to the staff and crew of Fly Fish Guanaja (Fish For Change) for making these two weeks life changing and inspiring. I know we are going to do some great things for this world and look forward to seeing you all in the future.
By: Keith Rossin
Steve!That past week was AMAZING! Absolutely crushed it down there, had a blast. I fished with Deron 5 days and Rankin 1. They both led me into countless fish. Deron led me into my first permit on the third day. I had my first shots that morning and blew all of them, learning lessons the absolute hard way. Later in the morning I executed with the kung fu. On the way back to the lodge, we went around the north corner of the island. Deron saw a solo frigate bird flying about 1000 yards offshore and he deviated to check it out. He cast a spinning rod with a donkey plug out into the blue, gave the reel MAX two rotations and BOOM, giant dorado on. There were two other beasts sharking around with it, so while I fought it Deron tried to rig up my fly rod. The beast ended up prying the connector ring on the lure open, so they all got away, but it was pretty rad.The next night Rankin and I were on the boat dock. I was saying my goodbyes around 11:30, and as I turned to leave he grabbed my shirt and turned me around. “Dude. What is THAT”, pointing out into the halo of lit water around the dock. We both stared into the water for a few seconds and he goes “Those are PERMIT dude!”. There were three of them hugging the edge of the light. I scrambled for a rod that had a kung fu rigged up (I was sold on the pattern at that point), I frantically strung some slack out, made a few casts, and got one to eat. Seeing a tight line fire out into pitch darkness was pretty haunting. We got him in a few minutes later and absolutely lost our minds.. It was hilarious, and glorious.The next day Deron got me into a MASSIVE tarpon.The island was good to me. I will definitely return.DARKApril.11, 2016
We want to thank you for such a wonderful trip. The accommodations were outstanding and food was to die for. We had the most amazing time. Your staff was great and took such great care of us. The guides, Edwin, Rankin and Pablo. (Did not use Darin but wish we had) were awesome. They were patience with two people that had never fly fished in salt water. All three made us feel good and they did there best getting us in position with the talent or lack of that we had and gave us plenty of chances. We each caught several bonefish. Tara’s caught one approximately 8 lbs and seeing that fish run into the backing several times was awesome. The Tarpon I caught was awesome too. Seeing a fish that big jumping out of the water time and time again I will never forget. I am hooked on permit fishing. Even though we didn’t catch any I had plenty of chances every day. I can see why it’s the ultimate game fish.
All the ladies that prepared the food and took such great care of us were wonderful. We just loved them all. Fixing our room up with fresh flowers and making it the best honeymoon suite ever.
Greg was awesome and so full of life! He was great and fun to be around. His help at airports was great!
Oliver took great care of us and when we missed flights by the time we got to Roatan he had them re-booked for us. It just made things so much easier for us. Thank you for providing him, he is a great asset.
We bought 3 shirts and owe you guys for that. Have Rebecca send me a bill on that and anything else that I may owe.
Again thank you for such a great honeymoon. It could not have been any better. Again we loved it and we are going to try to come back again and bring a couple of couples with us. Also more prepared as fly casters. Permit beware! 😉 – Feb. 20, 2016
For all practical Purposes, Guanaja seems to be virgin territory — at least for bonefish and permit. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Guanaja, one of the most beautiful and secluded places in the world.
We had a great time. Eight people did not cause any problems. There is something special about having an island to yourselves. We loved it! The staff treated us like we were their family members. Food was local and superb. Flyfishing was difficult and challenging. Though part of that was that we scheduled ourselves for the new moon in February, which occurred the first week. We watched many very nice schools of bones leave the flats and actively spawn in 20-25 foot holes. Obviously those bones were not too interested in eating. We did catch bones, about two or three per day per fly fishermen on average. Most saw and had shots at many permit but none were landed. If you want to permit fish you really need to target them specifically. Several of our guys like to paddle board, and they had a ball doing so every day. We had three guys snorkel one whole day. Said they loved it and shot many of the invasive lionfish. We did have a problem with one of the guides. This group likes to change guides each day and everyone who fished with this fellow had the same comments. He was a nice enough gent, but wanted to lead you down the flat when wading by staying 30-40 yards in front. If you have fished much for bones you know that does not work. He also was very big on “chumming” even though the anglers did not want to do so. I think that problem is fixed though I know an angler who recently broke three ribs while fishing with this guide.
Steve and Rebecca really have it put together. They have a helper guy at the Roatan airport who does everything for you. Handles baggage, clears customs holds your place in line. Then a team meets you at Guanaja. They take care of everything on that end. We did have one couple and they said it was perfect. They are very experienced fly fishermen and travel the world fly fishing, they own two beats on the River Itchen (remember Isaac Walton), and a yearly beat on the River Tweed in Scotland. Not their first rodeo.
We had no divers so I can’t speak to that. When I was there nearly twenty years ago, before Mitch, Guanaja was a dive destination. Most of the people in the hotel where I stayed (Posada del Sol) were very serious divers and they raved about the diving. So I think the dive conditions and environment are very good. Don’t know about dive boats, equipment etc. We have scheduled another trip for August of 2015.
I can’t begin to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed my two visits to Guanaja. The first trip was in 2011 and then I returned this past February. The entire experience is what makes Guanaja so special for me, the fishing is icing on the cake! The adventure of getting there and landing on the tiny strip to be whisked off by boat to a private key, with a beautiful lodge starts the trip off right. My last trip had myself, my girlfriend, and two other anglers at the lodge. Greg, the manager, was always on hand to give fishing advice, help with forgotten items, or ideas of things to do. He’s an energetic guy willing to do whatever it takes to make your trip memorable, and just a lot of fun to have around. The staff are top notch, they made us delicious meals that were amazing and different every day. The conch was unbelievable, and the lobster dinner…need I say more?! Every evening after fishing, appetizers are served on the deck to enjoy with a cold drink and a beautiful sunset over the mountains of Guanaja. On top of that, the ladies are a pleasure to be around and their company and music round out the lodge experience. The rooms are great, very comfortable, with the relaxing sounds of the sea coming through the windows. Pack light, they also wash your clothes and hang them to dry in the breeze every day.
The guides are awesome. Period. I’ve been a full time guide for 12 years and I can recognize the best when I see them. THESE GUYS ARE THE BEST! They are professional, hardworking, knowledgeable, and really fun to be with. They pole the boat with incredible skill, and have the eyes you need to get on those hard to see fish. Their different personalities are what make them so special to me, I feel like I’m spending the day with a close friend when I’m with them. I can’t wait to get back on the island with them next year. My girlfriend doesn’t fish, but enjoys being on the boat and the guides all made sure to point out animals, fish, landmarks, and places to see, so she enjoyed her time as well. I like to fish hard for the morning mostly and then we would snorkel, swim, stand up paddle board, or visit a restaurant or bar. The guides have the local knowledge to show us all sorts of great places to do these other activities. I have never gone diving on Guanaja, but the snorkeling was incredible, and the guides put us on some really cool spots.